Is Adobe Flash Available for the iPad?

Girl on video call on tablet
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Adobe Flash is not supported on iOS devices, including the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. In fact, Apple has never supported Flash for the iPad. Steve Jobs famously wrote a detailed white paper on why Apple would not support Adobe Flash. His reasons included Flash's poor battery performance and numerous bugs that could cause the device to crash. Since Apple's release of the original iPad, Adobe dropped support for the mobile Flash player, effectively ending any chance it would find support on the iPad, iPhone, or even Android smartphones and tablets.

Do You Actually Need Flash on the iPad?

When the iPad was released, the web depended on Flash for video. Most major video sites (such as YouTube) now support the new HTML 5 standards, however, which allow visitors to view videos in a web browser without a third-party service like Adobe Flash. HTML 5 also allows for more complicated, app-like web pages. In short, the tasks that required Flash 10 years ago don't anymore.

Most websites and web services that previously required Flash have developed either a native web page that can be viewed in the iPad's web browser or an app for the service. In many ways, the App Store has become the second iteration of the web, allowing companies to deliver a better experience than may be possible in a web browser.

Are There Any Substitutes for Flash on the iPad?

While most websites have moved away from Flash, some web services still require it. Many web-based games still require Flash, too. Don't worry: If you absolutely must have Flash support, you can get around the iPad's lack of native support.

Third-party browsers that support Flash essentially download the web page to a distant server and use a mixture of video and HTML to display the Flash app on your iPad. This means they can be a little laggy or hard to control at times, but most Flash apps work perfectly fine on these browsers, despite being processed remotely. The most popular browser that supports Flash is the Photon Web Browser, but a few other browsers also support Flash to varying degrees.

The Casual Games Substitute

The most popular reason people want to run Flash on an iPad is to play fun Flash-based games. The iPad is the king of casual games, however, and most games on the web have app-based equivalents. It is worth searching the App Store for the game rather than relying on a browser like Photon. App versions of games play much more smoothly as native apps than games that rely on third-party servers to essentially stream games to the iPad.